We love a great lake; however, if the lake is not a boating lake, it loses a bit of its appeal to us. Luckily around Charlotte, NC, there are some great boating lakes to try out. Just because you are inland does not mean there is no boating available.

Please take a look at the four best lakes that we found around Charlotte and let us know what other lakes you enjoy visiting in the area.

There are lots of things to do in Charlotte, NC. If you enjoy kayaking, eating out at restaurants, hiking, and more, you will find plenty to do in Charlotte.

4 Amazing Lakes Near Charlotte NC

1) Lake Norman

It probably comes as no surprise to find Lake Norman at the top of our list. Lake Norman is a bit of a boaters paradise. You can get to Lake Norman in about thirty minutes if you are traveling from uptown Charlotte.

Lake Norman is a massive lake, and it is a great spot to spend not just the day but the entire summer. There is always something going on when you are in the Lake Norman area. If you want to find a peaceful fishing spot or dock at a bar with some live music, you will have those choices in Lake Norman.

If you don’t own a boat but want to experience lake life near Charlotte, NC, there are plenty of boat rentals in the Lake Norman areas as well. Don’t forget about Lake Norman State Park as well, lots of family entertainment at a very fair price.

If you live in the Charlotte area, Lake Norman will be one of the closest spots to get your fill of watersports, boating, fishing, and more.

2) Lake Lure

The rest of the lakes near Charlotte that we recommend are not going to be as close as Lake Norman. You may need to plan a day trip for the next three locations, but you won’t be disappointed in what they have to offer.

Lake Lure is only about an hour and forty five minutes from Charlotte, and it is a beautiful and scenic area to visit. Lake Lure has beach access in addition to many other outdoor activities; boating included.

If you plan on making the trip to Lake Lure frequently, then you should look into getting the annual boat permit that is offered. You will need this to launch your boat, and during peak season, you know they will be checking to make sure your boat permit is in place.

Lake Lure is a place for outdoor enthusiasts, and you will get some of the most amazing views that North Carolina has to offer.

3) Lake Rabun

Lake Rabun takes you out of North Carolina and into Georgia, however, you are still going to be visiting one of the best lakes near Charlotte. You know how we feel about North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia boating; they are all very similar. Lake Rabun is about three hours from Charlotte, and when you arrive, you will know you have left the city.

Lake Rabun will give you a glimpse at the mountains and a feel of what life must have been like years ago. If you feel like the city life has you ready for a break, this is a perfect spot to check out. When you are on a boat in Lake Rabun, you will be able to water ski, swim, fish, and enjoy the scenery as well.

The surrounding area near Lake Rabun has lots of small shops, vineyards and it is a picturesque town as well. Overall this is an excellent destination if you need to escape Charlotte, NC, and be on the water for a few days.

4) Lake Jocassee

Last on our list is Lake Jocassee. Lake Jocassee is one of the best trout-fishing lakes in all of South Carolina. It will take you a good three hours to get to Lake Jocassee from Charlotte, but if you reel in one of those award-winning trout, it will have been worth the wait.

Lake Jocassee is not a highly developed area; in fact, only about one mile of the shoreline is developed. If you enjoy finding little hidden fishing spots, this is a Lake you need to consider visiting. Lake Jocassee is 7500 acres, and it has 300 foot deep reservoir.

If you decide to take the trip to Lake Jocassee, don’t forget the water is a bit cold. Lake Jocassee is known for its refreshingly cold swims, so if you want to enjoy being in the water, make sure you head here in the summer.

Another thing we love about Lake Jocassee is the waterfalls. There are seven waterfalls at the Lake, and if you haven’t taken your family to see some waterfalls, this is a great place to do so. Overall the trip to Lake Jocassee is worth the ride from Charlotte, NC, but you may want to stay overnight if you have the time.

What To Bring When Visiting Lakes Near Charlotte?

Are you curious about what to bring fishing? Or what to take when heading out on the boat for a day? Take a look at some of our features and guides.


When it comes to proximity, Lake Norman will be the best spot to get on a boat in the Charlotte area. If you live in Charlotte and you are looking for things to do in the Charlotte area, these other lake choices make a perfect day trip. Who knows, you may end up bringing home an extra trout or two for dinner.